✪✪✪ Marxist View On Poverty

Wednesday, January 05, 2022 4:03:12 AM

Marxist View On Poverty

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And that class is fully aware of it. Out of this quote, one can see a Marxist theory of how racism operated in contemporary society, after slavery was ended. Marx was highlighting three things: first, that capitalism promotes economic competition between workers; second, that the ruling class uses racist ideology to divide workers against each other; and finally, that when one group of workers suffer oppression, it negatively impacts the entire class. These questions get to the heart of Marxism and really begin to address whether Marxism subsumes political questions to economic ones. The production of ideas, of conceptions, of consciousness, is at first directly interwoven with the material activity and the material intercourse of men, the language of real life.

Conceiving, thinking, the material intercourse of men appear at this stage as the direct efflux of their material behavior Men are the producers of their conceptions, ideas, etc Consciousness can never be anything else than conscious existence, and the existence of men is their actual life process. This does not mean that humans are only automatons with no thought, creativity, ideas or agency, and that life is a linear and determined existence. Human action or inaction constantly impacts and changes the environment and the world around us. But human activity is shaped by the material world. Racism is ideological, but it has tangible implications in the real world.

Stating that racism is ideological does not somehow, then, render it less important, but distinguishes the difference between a question of material conditions and consciousness. It is undeniable that some in the socialist and Marxist traditions--primarily in the 19th and early 20th century--assumed that because African Americans were overrepresented as workers, simply focusing on the class struggle would by itself liberate Black workers and the poor from their oppression.

But Marxist theory on the "Black question" has certainly evolved since then. Marxism should not be conceived of as an unchanging dogma. It is a guide to social revolution and political action, and has been built upon by successive generations of Marxists. But theory doesn't precede material and social conditions--it flows from them. In the mids, when hundreds of thousands of African Americans made their way to the urban North, socialists and communists were forced to theorize how they would relate to Black workers on a mass scale--something that had never been an issue before. In associating with the comrades of America, I have found demonstrations of prejudice on the various occasions when the white and black comrades had to get together, and this is the greatest obstacle that the Communists of America have got to overcome--the fact that they first have got to emancipate themselves from the ideas they entertained toward Negroes before they can be able to reach the Negroes with any kind of radical propaganda.

The Russian revolutionary Lenin directly intervened in the American Communist Party CP and directed it to immediately begin political agitation among African Americans. Thus, the founding convention of the Communist Party in stated merely that the "racial oppression of the Negro is simply the expression of his economic bondage and oppression, each intensifying the other. The Negro workers in American are exploited and oppressed more ruthlessly than any other group. The history of the Southern Negro is the history of a reign of terror--of persecution, rape and murder Because of the anti-Negro policies of organized labor, the Negro has despaired of aid from this source, and he has either been driven into the camp of labor's enemies, or has been compelled to develop purely racial organizations which seek purely racial aims.

The Workers Party will support the Negroes in their struggle for Liberation, and will help them in their fight for economic, political and social equality Its task will be to destroy altogether the barrier of race prejudice that has been used to keep apart the Black and white workers, and bind them into a solid union of revolutionary forces for the overthrow of our common enemy. By the early s, thousands of Blacks had joined the Communist Party. The politics of communism became the dominant political framework for most of the nonwhite world as hundreds of millions of people of color across the globe were inspired by the writings of Lenin on the rights of oppressed nations to fight for their own freedom.

Lenin wrote:. The proletariat must struggle against the enforced retention of oppressed nations within the bounds of the given state The proletariat must demand freedom of political separation for the colonies and nations oppressed by "their own" nation. Otherwise, the internationalism of the proletariat would be nothing but empty words; neither confidence nor class solidarity would be possible between the workers of the oppressed and the oppressor nations On the other hand, the socialists of the oppressed nation must, in particular, defend and implement the full and unconditional unity, including organizational unity, of the workers of the oppressed nation and those of the oppressor nation.

Without this it is impossible to defend the independent policy of the proletariat and their class solidarity with the proletariat of other countries. So it is an odd charge that Marxism is incapable of comprehending the racialized nature of capitalism, while simultaneously becoming the politics that led the vast majority of non-white national liberation movements in the 20th century. The critique of Marxism also minimizes the extent to which Black revolutionaries and the Black struggle itself shaped and impacted the trajectory of Marxist thought.

Thus, C. James, the Black revolutionary from the Caribbean and collaborator with Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky, advanced Marxist theory when he wrote--presciently in , years before the emergence of the civil rights movement in the U. We say, number one, that the Negro struggle, the independent Negro struggle, has a vitality and a validity of its own; that it has deep historic roots in the past of America and in present struggles; it has an organic political perspective, along which it is traveling, to one degree or another, and everything shows that at the present time it is traveling with great speed and vigor.

We say, number two, that this independent Negro movement is able to intervene with terrific force upon the general social and political life of the nation, despite the fact that it is waged under the banner of democratic rights and is not led necessarily either by the organized labor movement or the Marxist party. We say, number three, and this is the most important, that it is able to exercise a powerful influence upon the revolutionary proletariat, that it has got a great contribution to make to the development of the proletariat in the United States, and that it is in itself a constituent part of the struggle for socialism.

In this way we challenge directly any attempt to subordinate or to push to the rear the social and political significance of the independent Negro struggle for democratic rights. That is our position. It was the position of Lenin 30 years ago. It was the position of Trotsky which he fought for during many years. It has been concretized by the general class struggle in the United States, and the tremendous struggles of the Negro people. Much of the controversy about Marxism and race is over whether Marxist theory appropriately comprehends the centrality of race in U. But what is really at the heart of the debate is the view of revolutionary Marxists that: one, white workers do not have a privileged status in this country; two, white workers can gain revolutionary consciousness; and three, therefore a multiracial and united working-class revolution is possible.

Marxists start with the premise that all workers under capitalism are oppressed, but some workers face further oppression because of additional discrimination like racism, sexism, homophobia, anti-immigrant ideas, religious oppression, etc. Thus, in the United States, white workers are oppressed, but not to the same degree as non-white workers. Oppression is not just an ideological tool to divide groups of workers, but has real material consequences as well. By every measure of the quality of life in the U. Marxists do not deny that these differences exist, nor do we deny that oppression means the lives of some workers are actually worse than others. For Marxists, the question is the cause of the differences.

Are the disparities the result of white workers benefiting directly from the oppression of Black workers? That is, do white workers make more on average because Black workers make less? To accept this explanation means to ignore the biggest beneficiary in the disparity in wages--employers and bosses. That employers are able to use racism to justify paying Black workers less brings the wages of all workers down--the employers enjoy the difference. This is not to deny that white workers receive some advantages in U. If they did not get some advantage--and with it, the illusion that the system works for them--then racism would not be effective in dividing Black and white workers.

The distinctions and differences among workers function to create a distorted view of reality that turns the traits attributed to the oppressed into a kind of "common sense," which in turn deepens those divisions. African Americans are poorer, have worse housing, go to worse schools, have a shorter life span and generally live in worse conditions, which helps to perpetuate the image in the minds of white workers that African Americans are inferior.

But the problem with so-called "common sense" is that it is based on surface appearances and information, and does not reach deeper to give a systemic explanation for the disparities that exist in society. Instead, it creates what Frederick Engels was the first to call "false consciousness. False consciousness is simply ruling-class ideology that is used to explain away or cover up material reality. The point is that white workers, to the extent that they accept white supremacy, contribute to capitalism's ability to exploit them more effectively.

The purely "psychological" advantage obscures the very real material deficit that racist oppression helps reinforce. Du Bois explained how "false consciousness" worked in the South and why a labor movement never developed there in the aftermath of slavery:. The race element was emphasized in order that property holders could get the support of the majority of white laborers and make it more possible to exploit Negro labor. But the race philosophy came as a new and terrible thing to make labor unity or labor class-consciousness impossible. So long as the Southern white laborers could be induced to prefer poverty to equality with the Negro, just so long was a labor movement in the South made impossible.

For Du Bois, racism wasn't metaphysical, nor did it exist autonomously from class. It concentrates resources to provide most direct and effective assistance to needy people and regions based on an analysis of the causes of their poverty. In conclusion, the strategy can enhance the efficiency of poverty-elimination work. When the extensive mode of poverty alleviation was implemented, it was hard to ascertain the actual number of people living in poverty, and the measures and policies were not targeted, hence the results were not satisfactory. Therefore, impoverished people could not really share the fruits of economic development. The strategy of targeted poverty alleviation realizes targeted recognition, assistance, management and appraisal, radically improving the efficiency of poverty-elimination work.

Social structure , in sociology, the distinctive, stable arrangement of institutions whereby human beings in a society interact and live together. Social structure is often treated together with the concept of social change, which deals with the forces that change the social structure and the organization of society. Poverty is measured in the United States by comparing a person's or family's income to a set poverty threshold or minimum amount of income needed to cover basic needs. People whose income falls under their threshold are considered poor. The U. Census Bureau is the government agency in charge of measuring poverty. The conflict theory , suggested by Karl Marx, claims society is in a state of perpetual conflict because of competition for limited resources.

It holds that social order is maintained by domination and power, rather than consensus and conformity. What would a functionalist say about poverty? Category: personal finance government support and welfare. One other line of functionalist thinking focuses more directly on poverty than generally on stratification. This particular functionalist view provocatively argues that poverty exists because it serves certain positive functions for our society.

Why poverty is a social problem? Is poverty a social condition? Why is poverty important to society? Poverty increases health risks. How can we solve poverty? Create jobs. Why is understanding poverty important? What do you mean by poverty? What are the types of poverty? What is poverty sociological perspective? How many positive functions of poverty are there? Is poverty related to culture? What causes poverty?

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